The city police have found that a banned variety of mushroom called magic mushroom or psilocybin mushrooms is being peddled into the city from Kodaikanal in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. The target area where these mushrooms are supplied,according to the police,is students of educational institutes here. It is being sold in small plastic containers and costs not more than Rs 500 per bulb.
Consumption of these mushrooms creates almost the same effect of another psychedelic drug Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Besides giving a high,it also leads to hallucinations and illusions. An Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) officer of Pune Crime Branch said the mushrooms have psychoactive indole alkaloids that fall under psychedelic drug category of narcotics.
The police first got the tip off while questioning a suspect from whom charas (hashish) was seized. Last week,the ANC had arrested Rakesh Vijay Kidao (26) who hails from Kerala. The police found that he was peddling contraband inside and near the premises of the educational institutes. ANC Police Inspector Sunil Tambe said Kidao on Wednesday when he was trying to sell charas in front of an educational institution. He said he had been selling magic mushrooms procured from dealers in Kodaikanal, Tambe said. Kidao told the police that these mushrooms are brought in small consignment and sold in these educational institutes for Rs 400-Rs 500 a bulb.
Kidao also named at least five of the citys educational institutes where he had sold these mushrooms to students. We are keeping a watch at these places. These bulbs are cheaper than cocaine and it has become popular. It need not be smoked like marijuana and charas. We have so far not been able to make any seizures, said an officer who chose to remain unnamed. The officer said this contraband is also referred to as shrooms by youths.
The police are keeping an eye on some students from these colleges who were named by Kidao. These students have been regular buyers of these bulbs. We also have information that some of the Nigerian nationals staying in the city are also part of the racket, said Inspector Tambe.
Substance abuse on the rise
Arrested suspect Kidao has told the police that in the past he had peddled party drugs like LSD and ecstasy pills (methylene dioxy methamphitamine) to colleges. The police said Kidao has been procuring these drugs from Nigerians who smuggle it from Goa.
The Narcotic Control Bureau website terms magic mushroom as a hallucinogen. On consumption,it affects bodys self control,mainly speech and movement,and often bring out hostility. Side-efects include heart failure,increased heart beat,high blood pressure and changes in bodys hormone balance.